Interviews with the Talent of ‘Don’t Look Up’ at the World Premiere Red Carpet

I recently had the honor of attending the Don’t Look Up red carpet in New York City on behalf of The Nerds of Color and it was amazing. I spoke with Jennifer Lawrence, Tyler Perry, Conor Sweeney, Robert Radochia, Taura Stinson, Himesh Patel, Amy Mainzer, Kevin Messick, and Tomer Sisley all about the new film! Read below to hear everything that they exclusively shared with The NOC.

Two low-level astronomers (Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence) must go on a giant global media tour to warn mankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

Dimitrios Kambouris

What was your preparation for the film?
Jennifer Lawrence: I spoke to an amazing astronomer, Amy Mainzer, who helped all of us kind of figure out what we were saying, and I didn’t retain a lot of that. So most of the time, I still didn’t really know what I was saying but I talked to her just asked about other women in the field and that helped me kind of figure out what she’s gonna look like, what she’s gonna wear, and that kind of stuff. It was very helpful.

You managed to mix all the genres so perfectly with the drama and comedy in your performance, what was that like?
Jennifer Lawrence: The thing about Don’t Look Up is, I mean, the comedy is in the truth, you know? We just played it realistically. It’s scary how realistic the movie is.

There’s so many messages in this film. Is there a takeaway that either you learned or you hope audiences learn?
Jennifer Lawrence: I hope that we all start looking at the real enemy, which is corrupt politics, money in politics, it’s not each other, and that the climate crisis is the biggest issue that we’re facing. So we have to vote and act accordingly.

Dimitrios Kambouris

You were absolutely amazingly when it came to the comedy aspect with your role, which was a really fun and unique one. Can you fell me about filming your scenes?
Tyler Perry: Yeah, working with Cate Blanchett was awesome because she’s very giving. She’s a scene partner that you want to have and we just played off each other. It’s like we knew each other forever. We just met that day when we did that first scene, so it was really phenomenal.

Dimitrios Kambouris

What attracted you to the project?
Conor Sweeney: Adam McKay and all his work is just so incredible and then the all star cast in it. I knew when all those names were attached with it that something huge was happening and something really exciting. I just really like projects that are really active and doing something, and I feel like Don’t Look Up does that. Literally, an asteroid coming to earth. It’s awesome.

What was it like on set?
Conor Sweeney: It was amazing. So I play Leonardo DiCaprio’s son, which is amazing, and really, we shot in this house for a few days and it felt like this small little indie movie. We were just all sitting around the table for the ending sequence and it was just like, “Look at us shooting this little ‘go get him’ film.” Then I take a step back and be like, “To my left is Leonardo DiCaprio, there’s Jennifer Lawrence and Timothée Chalamet, yeah, cool. Anyway, here’s grace.” So it was a dream come true, it was so fun and just a blast the whole time.

What are you most excited for fans to see from the film?
Conor Sweeney: Yeah, literally, I don’t know, everything. I mean, like the Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi moment is amazing. I’ve listened to the song since its come out. I really love the ending, I’m biased, of course, but yeah, the ending is amazing and just the whole thing really. I don’t know, I’m so excited.

What was your favorite aspect of your character to play with in your scenes?
Conor Sweeney: Yeah, I think it was just building the relationships. We didn’t have that much time, so it was kind of like, “go go go.” I remember when we first started, we were improvising some scenes with Leo and Timothée, and we were just like, “Okay, time to build a family! We have five seconds and then its time to go.” So it was just like a matter of “Yeah, let’s make fun of green beans, I guess because we’re a nerdy little family.” Yeah, so just building the relationships and working with everyone.

Improv is the best! What can you tell me about that?
Conor Sweeney: Unbelievable. I mean, Adam really gave us the space to do whatever we wanted and it was a judgment free zone. So it was just really cool to sort of try things out. Timothée was off the walls the whole time, it was crazy, but it was a blast the whole time.

There’s so many important messages in this film, what is the big takeaway you’re hoping audiences get?
Conor Sweeney: I just hope everyone starts listening to each other more. I think just the communication aspect of this film and how we’ve lost that, I really want people to wake up to that, get that, and hopefully, just wake up.

Dimitrios Kambouris

What attracted you to the project?
Robert Radochia: First and foremost, I saw the star studded cast and I was extremely enthralled by that. I’d say just the opportunity itself just seemed way too good to be true and obviously, I’m going to take an opportunity like that.

The film has so many messages, what are you hoping the takeaway is for audiences?
Robert Radochia: I hope people understand the bigger picture overall and it is today’s society, but Adam does a great job portraying social justice and so many other issues, and I think it’s important that the the audience sees this.

What are you most excited for fans to see?
Robert Radochia: My scenes — no, I’ll tell you right now, again, with the star studded cast there’s so much to see and it’s the general message that’s driven through every scene. There’s a little bit comedy twisted in there so I think that everyone’s going to enjoy it.

Any acting challenges or highlights for you when it came to playing your character?
Robert Radochia: My character is are pretty subtle character, I will say, but I’d say we do have a couple of scenes where it’s lot of conversation and improvisation. So I’d say that was the highlight for me, was getting in there with some bigger names and and putting my work to work.

Improv is the best, I love that you were able to do that. Can you tell me about that?
Robert Radochia: I think it’s the coolness and I’d say it’s a lot easier when you have such prominent actors. It makes a lot easier for — I’d like to say for us smaller folk, but no, it definitely makes it a lot easier when you have people that you can mix with and can really improv.

Kevin Mazur

What initially attracted you here?
Taura Stinson: Well, Nicholas Britell, I think he’s phenomenal. He’s the composer of our time, I think he will go down in history as being someone who was like the voice of today and was just amazing. So he called me, we had been working on another project, and when he called me about this one, it was kind of like — I was at Costco, shopping for my family this time last year, and he called me and he’s like, “I think you’ll be able to pull this together and be a great collaborative partner.” I jumped right in and there wasn’t a shortage of inspiration with the news, and once I got like a little blurb of the script, I was like, “I’m in.”

Obviously, I feel like music ties the whole film together, which applies to every movie. What were the highlights and challenges?
Taura Stinson: Sometimes there are a lot of challenges, especially like directors, but it was such a collaborative process, like, “How are you doing the melody coming on top of the words?” Then, the making music, Kid Cudi’s rap and his section, so it was kind of like, you hope that you don’t get a million notes. With Adam, he was just like, “Hey, I love it.” And with that, you really feel like such an immense respect for someone who also respects you, so mutual respect was everything.

What are you most excited for fans to see?
Taura Stinson: I am just honored. I really hope that also, on top of being honored and being part of this process, I’m big on climate change anxiety, is kind of what I have. Like literally on the way here, I read that it was snowing in Hawaii, and I’m like, “What are we talking about?” So I just hope that people take things more seriously, like plastics and just everything that’s ailing our Mother Earth, and that she needs to be taken care of just as much as we do. She’s like a huge, huge, huge, huge plant that we are not watering.

There’s so much for audiences to take away from this film. Is there anything you took away or learned from it?
Taura Stinson: So many things. Honestly, I just learned how much art imitates life, and sometimes we can look at look at films and wonder like really where they came from, even if like the all knowing being spoke through Adam because this was so parallel that it was crazy, crazy parallel. So, I just trusted the process of creativity a lot more because I believe it’s more of a seventh sense.

Dimitrios Kambouris

What attracted you here to the project?
Himesh Patel: Adam, Jennifer, Leonardo, all the others. There’s a few people in this movie, you know? I guess that was sort of attractive.

There’s so many important messages in this film, what is the big takeaway either you got or you’re hoping audiences get?
Himesh Patel: We have a choice to make.

What are you most excited for fans to see?
Himesh Patel: Just another brilliant story from Adams’ minds, and this time, it’s really completely from his mind. It’s an original story. It’s hard to believe but it really is, he’s created a really special thing.

What was it like on set? I can only imagine how amazing it was.
Himesh Patel: Yeah, I mean, my few days on it, it was really exciting place to be, nerve wracking for me, of course, but everyone was really lovely, very kind. So I had a great time.

Dimitrios Kambouris

The hype around this film is insane. What has the experience been like?
Amy Mainzer: It’s been an amazing experience, not the least of which because it was made during a time of unprecedented crisis, the pandemic has really affected everybody around the globe. At its core, this is a movie about our responses as a society to science and the importance of listening to science. So, of course, that for me was a really big part of wanting to get this movie done.

As someone who has gotten to see the film, the reactions were so spot on at times and really reflective of our society that it was scary. How did you feel watching that?
Amy Mainzer: I will just say that, ultimately, at its core, the movie has a nugget of hope to it and that’s extremely important, right? That doesn’t have to be our future. We can have a better future, we just have to choose it and we want it to be a future that fully takes into account all points of view, but in the end, you have to make science based decisions if you want to get the best outcome.

I feel like this is such a powerful cast, film, and script to get this important, scientific message across to audiences. I think this will reach a lot of people. What are your thoughts on that?
Amy Mainzer: I really hope people enjoy this movie. I hope it makes you laugh and it might make you cry, it might make you frustrated, but hopefully, it’ll stay with you and it’ll make you think. When you work with a great team of people, as a scientist, we can bring you the knowledge that we’re learning about the world, even if the news isn’t good, but it is through the arts that helps us to process all of that and it helps bring it home to us emotionally. I hope the movie does that for you.

Dimitrios Kambouris

What attracted you to the project?
Kevin Messick: Well, it was the next amazing thing that came from Adam. I’ve produced all of Adam’s movies for the last 10 years. So when he wrote this, believe it or not before COVID, in terms of its relevancy, it was just an incredible kind of allegory about the climate emergency. Then it kind of took on additional meaning and relevancy over the last year.

There’s so many important messages in this film, what is the big takeaway either you got or you’re hoping audiences get?
Kevin Messick: That we don’t have to meet the same fate of as a characters in the movie, you know, that they’re fictional. There is hope in that we can kind of collectively take action.

What are you most excited for fans to see from it?
Kevin Messick: I think the ending. I think that people hopefully, from the reactions that we’ve gotten really feel moved by the end, which is not necessarily something that you might expect that comes out as a big all star comedy. So without spoiling it all, there is something that’s kind of hopefully deeply felt that allows people to takeaway whatever they want from the movie.

The film manages to mix all the genres so perfectly with the drama and comedy, what do you think this adds to it?
Kevin Messick: I think it makes it feel like the messages and themes of the movie don’t feel so dire or dramatic that you can’t laugh about it because there’s an absurdity to the situation that we’re in.

Dimitrios Kambouris

What attracted you to the project?
Tomer Sisley: Do I really need answer that question? The signature, the director, the script, the actors starring in it, the message, everything.

What was a day like on set?
Tomer Sisley: The set was crazy, first of all, because we shot in the middle of the COVID crisis, so that was the most special thing. But apart from being tested every morning, not being able to leave your trailer as long as you have not been tested negative, and I mean, wearing a mask and a face shield — we had both — it was crazy. If you wanted to eat a banana you had to get inside a small tent, big enough for one person. There was this chair, you would get into the tent, sit on a chair, zip it shut, and only then you could take your shield off, then the mask off, peel your banana, and eat it. It was crazy, but nobody got sick so it worked. Apart from that, it was fantastic. It was a playground.

There’s so many important messages in this film, what is the big takeaway either you got or you’re hoping audiences get?
Tomer Sisley: Be careful of who you vote for.